Temperatures are on the rise, and now is the time to start paying attention to your energy usage before summer electricity bills come due. Some simple steps now can add up to big energy savings later.
“We want our customers be stay cool and comfortable in the summertime, but let’s face it. It takes a lot of energy to do this in extremely hot temperatures, and that can cause a higher electric bill,” said Stuart Barrett, interim vice president of customer service for Entergy Texas, Inc. “There are things you can do now to make your home more energy efficient that really add up to energy savings year-round.”
Here are some simple things you can do to chill your bill this summer:
Proper attic insulation is the No. 1 way to conserve energy. It can save up to 80 percent in heating and cooling losses. Without proper insulation, half of the energy we use to heat and cool our homes can simply escape.
Insulation is available in rolled batting, loose fill, boards or foam and can be used in attics, on floors, in walls or around pipes.
Each type of insulation has a different R-Value, which is its resistance to heat loss, so you may need more of one insulation than another to get the same R-Value.
Keep the Heat Out
Anything that keeps hot air from entering your home can drastically help your electric bill. Just like wearing light-colored clothing can help keep you cooler, painting your house a light color can also help reflect your house from the sun. Consider installing solar screens on windows to reflect the sun’s heat away from your home.
Close drapes, blinds or shades to prevent sun from coming in, and caulk or seal openings around walls, doorways and windows.
Trees or bushes planted near windows that provide shade can also help -- just make sure they aren’t planted near power lines!
Use the Air Conditioner Wisely
Air conditioning and heating makes up more than half of your electric bill, so make sure to get it inspected and cleaned annually.
Keep the thermostat at 78 degrees or higher. Each degree lower than 78 degrees will add three percent to the cost of your electric bill. Even if you never adjust the thermostat, your unit has to work harder during the summer months to keep your house at the temperature you have set.
Fans can be a huge help in circulating cold air. Make sure ceiling fans are turning counter-clockwise in the summer to take advantage of the airflow.
Appliances use a lot of electricity, so it makes sense to invest in ones that meet the government’s ENERGY STAR rating. ENERGY STAR appliances mean they are more energy efficient and use less energy.
Keep refrigerator doors closed and keep the temperature no colder than 40 degrees in the fridge and zero degrees in the freezer. If you have a second refrigerator in the garage that you don’t use often, unplug it. Garages can get very hot, causing the second fridge to work overtime.
You can lower the temperature on water heaters to 120 degrees and install an insulation blanket as well.
LED bulbs are a great money saver. They burn longer and use less energy than ordinary bulbs. In fact, LED lights are up to 80% more efficient than traditional lighting, such as fluorescent and incandescent lights.
LED lights don’t give off as much heat, which is great in the summer time.
Turn off lights when they aren’t being used, and consider using a timer, which can turn the lights off for you.
The latest televisions, DVRs, video games, cell phones and other electronic devices can add to your energy usage.
Many of these devices continue using electricity when not in use, and according to ENERGY STAR’s website, this “phantom power” adds more than $100 to the cost of an average household’s electric bill each year.
Unplug electronic devices – even chargers – when you are not using them. An easy fix is plugging devices that don’t require constant power on a power strip, which you can flip off when not needed.
In addition, customers may want to sign up for Level Billing to help eliminate the spikes extreme temperatures can bring. Level Billing calculates your billing history over the previous 12 months and allows you to pay an average amount each month. It can be extremely helpful in managing your budget.
Other convenient payment options include:
Entergy also assists elderly and disabled low-income customers through its customer-assistance fund, The Power to Care. To find out how to get assistance, or to contribute to the fund, visit entergy.com or check the donation box on your monthly bill.
Entergy Texas, Inc. provides electricity to approximately 450,000 customers in 27 counties. Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 9,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.9 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of approximately $11 billion and more than 13,000 employees.